Star product: Fujifilm Jet Press 720S

By Simon Eccles, Monday 12 January 2015

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A digital press for high-quality, short-run work.

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Fujifilm Jet Press 720S

What does it do?

It’s a B2-plus format single-sided digital inkjet press, for sheets up to 750x532mm. It prints on standard litho papers thanks to an inline coating that reacts with the ink. Fuji claims the quality is better than litho or any other “paper-based digital process”.

The Jet Press 720S is a second-generation version of the 720, first announced at Drupa 2008. There are many improvements but the headline items include full-speed variable data printing (VDP) with barcode-based data integrity; and advanced closed-loop “intelligent” quality checking and automation that’s programmed for maximum uptime. This helps to mitigate the rather modest press speed. 

When was it launched and what market is it aimed at?

The 720S was officially announced in mid-November, but the first European sale was signed in March to HuigHaverlag Printing in Holland, which had previewed a modified original 720. 

According to Mark Stephenson, digital print sales manager for Fujifilm Graphic Systems, the market is “people looking for high-quality commercial print in shorter runs or with variable data”. 

How does it work?

As with the original Jet Press 720, the 8m-long 720S is based on a modified litho press chassis built by Ryobi. 

The heads are Fujifilm Dimatix Samba piezos in arrays of seven per print bar, giving 1,200dpi with four droplet sizes to increase the apparent resolution. A revised configuration means replacement (which is rarely needed) is much quicker. 

The revised Vividia wide-gamut CMYK inks are said to cost less, a big factor as ink is a major cost in any inkjet press. 

The paper transport has conventional feeder, sidelays, grippers and delivery. A new chain system ‘floats’ the sheet on air from the imaging unit to the dryer, which now has a hot air knife as well as IR. This drying means that reverse sides of duplex jobs can be printed immediately, and completed jobs can go straight to finishing.

The front-end is XMF 6, a new version of Fuji’s APPE-based RIP. It includes the first implementation of Adobe’s Mercury engine, an automatically scaling multi-RIP that enables even complex VDP to be rendered and loaded faster than the press runs.

The risk of printing double-sided VDP on a simplex press is that a mis-feed will cause subsequent reverse pages to go out of order. The 720S now prints a unique barcode on the first side of each sheet, which is read as the second pass starts. If it’s out of order the correct image is called up without slowing the press. “In fact you could shuffle the pile before printing the second side and the 720S will re-order the data on the fly,” says Stephenson.

How productive is it?

The sheets per hour figure is a modest 2,700 simplex, the same as the original 720. However, the automated consistency and uptime ensure higher productivity and very good uptime, Fuji says. 

What’s the USP?

“It’s the ultimate quality,” Stephenson claims. “If you put the 720S up against any other digital press that prints on plain paper, it can achieve superior quality, on standard litho stocks. I don’t know of anything else that can touch it.” 

Ease of use?

“I’d say it’s on a level with other digital production machines,” Stephenson adds. “It’s not a green button, it’s more an iGen level of operator knowledge. To keep the quality right you don’t have to do anything. It just prints the same quality all the time.”

What support is on offer?

Fujifilm provides full training and support facilities. Stephenson says that it helps to have some knowledge of B2 press operations or pre-press, preferably both.

How much does it cost?

A basic price will be around £995,000. Fuji works out running costs for individual enquiries, but essentially the relatively high ink costs are balanced by low pre-press and no plates compared with offset. There are no click charges.

What are the sales targets?

The original model sold in modest numbers, about 20 worldwide with three in Europe and none in the UK. At launch there were already five announced sales of the 720S in Europe, all either now installed or close to it. Stephenson declines to speculate on the sales target.


SPECIFICATIONS

Max sheet size 750x532mm

Speed 2,700sph

Colours CMYK

Stock weight range 127-300gsm

Price £995,000

Contact Fujifilm 01234 245245 www.fujifilm.eu/uk/products/graphic-systems


ALTERNATIVES

HP Indigo 10000

The first B2-format HP indigo liquid toner digital offset press has been shipping for almost two years. Image quality is stressed. 

Max speed 3,450sph

Colours Up to 7

Stock weight range 70-400gsm

Price About £1.5m

Contact HP 01344 363368 www.hp.com  

Screen Truepress JetSX

Screen’s B2 sheetfed inkjet press has duplexing and can print carton grades up to 600gsm. Image quality is stressed.

Max speed 1,620sph simplex, 810sph duplex

Colours 4

Stock range 0.1-0.6mm

Price About £1.2m

Contact Screen Europe +31 020 4567800 www.screeneurope.com 

Delphax elan

An SRA2 sheetfed duplex press that uses Memjet heads, which keep the price down and speed up, but restrict it to dye-based aqueous inks and CMYK. No click charges.

Max speed 3,750sph (duplex)

Colours CMYK plus two optional spot colours

Stock weight range 60-350gsm

Price £420,000

Contact Delphax 01293 551051 www.delphax.com 

Konica Minolta KM-1

Expected to ship in 2015, this B2 duplex press uses UV-LED curing inks and is aimed at high-quality applications.

Max speed 3,300sph (1,650sph duplex)

Colours Up to 5

Stock weight range 0.06–0.45mm 

Price £1.2m-£1.3m

Contact Konica Minolta 0800 833864 www.konicaminolta.co.uk  


USER REVIEW

“We invested in a Jet Press 720S because of its ability to produce ultra-high quality print, together with its reliability and ease of use. We are confident it will offer higher uptime. We also expect to win more work because of the print quality we can now achieve.” 4.5/5

Chris Knip Owner/director, HuigHaverlag, in Wormerveer, Holland

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